Rethinking Lent

I’ve never really been an “observer” of Lent — for a lot of reasons.  First and foremost, I am not Catholic and did not grow up in this tradition.  Secondly, I have had mixed feelings about the idea of giving something up for Lent.  I’ve had people describe it to me as joining in Jesus’ suffering…which I categorically reject.  In my not-so-humble opinion, there is NOTHING we could do for one day or forty that would even begin to mirror what Jesus went through in those 40 days leading up to the crucifixion.  Then there are those that don’t really know why they give something up…they just do because that’s what they are supposed to do.  That’s what I call “religion” and I tend to categorically reject that as well.  Finally, I have this annoying habit of being judgmental about what people give up.  I’m not proud of it — I’m just being real.

And, then my 13 year old started asking questions and I had to really start thinking about my answers because they are incredibly important.  We do some of our best talking in the car and this morning, as we were driving to a doctor’s appointment, I was able to address some of his questions and correct some of the thinking that he had (which he inevitably picked up from listening to me jabber on about it over the years).  I basically told him that the reasons people give something up are many — and they are not for us to judge.  I gave him the following example:

Let’s say that somebody is going to give up Diet Coke for Lent.  The point is not that the Diet Coke withdrawl represents anything close to the suffering that Jesus endured.  The point is that whenever that person thinks about Diet Coke or longs for a Diet Coke that it is a reminder to them of what Jesus did.  And, that should send us to prayer and thanksgiving.  Instead of equating with Jesus journey in the desert, it is a way for us to continuously be in tune with Jesus’ journey in the desert.

I saw a light start to go off as he considered this.  And, it made aware of my need to repent for the ways in which I have not shown enough reverence for this time in our Christian calender.  Yes it’s true that Jesus’death and resurrection gives me the freedom not to actively participate in the “religious” rituals.  But, the cross is the reason I am a Christian and I am convicted that it deserves more than I have given it over the years.

I went on to explain that some people choose to add something to their daily lives during this time — again so that we are constantly aware of why we celebrate Easter.   And, I gave him some ideas of things that he might consider doing during this time as well.  And, I shared with him one of the ways in which I plan to observe Lent this year.  And, as you might expect, it is a bit unconventional.  But, I’m joining in with a community of like-minded people in this endeavor.

I love that this will incorporate something I’m passionate about — photography.  And, that it allows for creativity, which God gave us.  It will be fun and interesting to see how other people express themselves in these photos.  I might even add a few of my own in because I have this issue with taking Sundays off.  I get why it is a “rule” in Lenten observances, but I don’t understand it.  Jesus didn’t get a day off — why should we?  Don’t try to convince me….just bear with me on it.  I might come around.

Here is Day One:  Who am I?

I’m a Wife.  Mother.  Lover.  Friend.  Aunt.  Foster Mother.  Comforter. Confidante.  Wearer of color.  Beach lover.  Follower of Jesus (you don’t know this, but I’m at church in the bottom right photo).  These are just a few things that make up who I am.

As I look at these photos, I see so many imperfections.  And, really…what is the point of today’s photo?  It sort of strikes me as prideful at first.  And, then it occurred to me that the descriptions I gave above are how I see myself.  They don’t represent my identity in Christ (entirely).  How humbling that Jesus does not see the imperfections that I do and that He accepts me as I am.  He made me the way I am, so why am I so critical of God’s creation?

And just like that, I find myself praising God and being worshipful.  And that is the point.

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